Christmas has always been a huge holiday for me and my family. Even before I was a believer, my family made a big deal out of the holiday. Christmas has always been the time for us to shower a loved one with gifts. Ha - even if that meant going into debt to do it (which I later found out, was usually the case too)! And as a Christian, it's been difficult to consider conducting Christmas any other way. But it's still easy, in the hustle and bustle of the season, to forget the original purpose and intentions of Christmas. The devotional I read today was a nice reminder of Jesus' birth in Luke chapter 2, and it's quiet times like that that are helpful in refocusing our thoughts and hearts on what (and Who) really matters most.
I've been wanting to write a blog about Christmas -- more than likely a retrospective, specifically. I'm still a kid at heart when it comes to Christmas. My favorite memories as a child are centered around surprise gifts or sneaking downstairs after everyone's gone to bed to check out the bountiful spread underneath the Christmas tree. And there's part of me today that still wants to feel those little joys again -- to get lost in the "Christmas feeling" of my childhood. If I try to look at it through those tiny eyes, the favorite Christmas memories involve surprise presents -- like our Grandparents getting us the original NES (Nintendo) and a GameBoy! Or waking up to find a non-wrapped G.I. Joe figure in our stocking for several years in a row (meaning we can play with it before the parents get up, when we can then open the rest of the goodies). Even as a young teen (and baby Christian), my favorite memory was getting PFR's Great Lengths on Christmas Day in 1994, when it wasn't supposed to release for another day or two AFTER Christmas (the local Christian bookstore just happened to put it out early, so my parents stumbled upon it and made both my brother's and my day with the unexpected surprise!). As I've gotten older and have come to learn about Jesus, the things that matter most obviously have changed. I've found myself wanting to just sit back in a corner by the Christmas tree at our big extended family Christmas get-together and sort of just soak in the frenzy of everyone exchanging presents and smiles and laughs. Because of how I was raised (and because I'm hopelessly sentimental), it's difficult to imagine Christmas without exchanging gifts, but even if there were just a couple items under the tree, I realize it's the family time we spend together that is the real gift. And remembering God's amazing gift of His only Son to us that night in that stinky, smelly, drafty stable outside of the Inn should really be enough for us.
So I guess reflecting on the past and focusing on what matters most is really a continued reminder for myself. But I wanted to take this opportunity to invite you all to share a Christmas memory here on this blog. It could be about a favorite gift you received or gave to someone... or maybe it's just a favorite family moment.
What is one of YOUR favorite Christmas memories?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put on some classic Christmas tunes before we have to rush out to see family for a Christmas Eve dinner! :)
Merry Christmas, everyone! From all of us at Jesusfreakhideout.com
- John DiBiase
President / Founder / Editor